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To wonder why some Grandparents help out...

(244 Posts)
Jadefeather7 Fri 08-Nov-19 13:43:20

I sometimes hear about people on here and in real life whose parents provide so much support and childcare for grand children. Sometimes they are providing almost full time care for their grandkids. Is that because they are close to their children, love their grandkids more or something else?

My own parents and in laws live close to me, have good health, are in their 60s and are retired but they don’t provide any support unless we ask them to babysit which we have done once or twice. They both had a lot of support from their own parents when they were raising kids, even though both my mum and mother in law were housewives. My mother in law has provided a fair bit of support to her daughter (travelling abroad to help her out) but not as much to her sons, I wonder if that’s a factor too.

We have purposefully chosen to live close to our parents so we can help them out when they need us. I believe that’s their expectation as well as all other siblings live far away. We both work (I’m on mat leave now) but we have always set aside one day on the weekend and alternate visiting each set of parents. At the moment we don’t provide care but we do a lot of their admin for them as they struggle with the internet etc. I guess it’s no where near what they have done for us but that’s the best we can manage.

In the end I know it’s their choice, I just wonder what others think.

I have a six month old and an unplanned baby on the way. I really struggled in the first few months when I had my first baby and nobody really helped me. At the moment I’m trying to get my head around how I will manage this time. I know I won’t have much family support again so will likely need to get paid help. It does make me a little sad if I’m honest, especially when I hear about how much support some people get.

Evilmorty Fri 08-Nov-19 13:45:40


My SIL has both parents, her IL’s, a sister and a brother who look after the kids everyday/after school including weekends. We live less than a mile from each other.

GrumpyHoonMain Fri 08-Nov-19 13:47:05

My mum would never offer to babysit either. You have to ask her but she rarely says no. I think most decent grandparents would wait to be asked before offering up childcare

Lazypuppy Fri 08-Nov-19 13:47:21

Yes my mum helps us loads, but we had the discussion before we got pregnant so we could plan when to have a child.

Are you wating for them to offee or have you asked for help?

SlackerMum1 Fri 08-Nov-19 13:48:39

Have you actually spoken to them about it? People aren’t mind readers and especially as your baby is so young they might think it wouldn’t be welcome at this stage? I mean how many threads do you see on here with people complaining about their MIL coming over all the time or their family wanting to ‘take the baby on their own’. Sometimes people are happy to help but don’t want to put themselves forward or tread on toes. Or they may just not have thought about it if you haven’t discussed it.

saraclara Fri 08-Nov-19 13:48:48

Have you asked them if they can help you out, OP? And @Evilmorty actually. Or are you waiting for them to offer?

saraclara Fri 08-Nov-19 13:49:34

Ha. Lots of simulposting there!

NamechangeWhatFor Fri 08-Nov-19 13:49:59

I get none and had 2 close together. Can you afford to send the older one to a childminder or nursery for a few hours a week to give you a break?

DefConOne Fri 08-Nov-19 13:50:10

My in-laws helped very little until kids were school age but they live far away. My parents helped although this decreased with my dad’s illness. He is no longer with us and my mum does a lot for my two and my niece and nephew. Me and my brother never took the piss and have always had paid childcare in place.

My mum was an army life who had no family support which makes her more considerate. I fully intend to help my DDs if I am fortunate enough that have grandchildren.

I am sorry you are unsupported and I hope your partner is pulling his weight as well.

giggleshizz Fri 08-Nov-19 13:50:21

I'm a single parent and my DM who lives 10 minutes away helps me loads. I never take the piss and always help her with stuff. Everyone is different I guess but I know my DM loves helping or she wouldn't offer.

Thenextnamechange Fri 08-Nov-19 13:54:21

In our case we have no family support. We live a couple of hours from each set. In our case it is because our parents are too busy with our respective siblings. As a result they don’t even visit and our children barely know them. I have just accepted it, but we will not be making big sacrifices for their care needs either. All families are different but I hope I can be more present in my children’s life as adults.

Magicautumnalhues Fri 08-Nov-19 13:55:55

You’re very wise to plan ahead - could each of you have an open family discussion about how you’d appreciate some extra help (be specific so you don’t get vauge answers that aren’t firm and don’t materialise) when the new baby arrives.

My DM had an accidental close second baby, it was incredibly tough. You need to ask, make plans and if gp aren’t interested in a clear commitment then think what type of paid help will be best.

I found regular planned breaks just about kept my sanity - one thing nurseries are (most round me are 3 months on) is reliable.

Ours are too old to help really on both sides.

Waiting4Sprogo Fri 08-Nov-19 13:56:06

Have you asked them if they’d be willing to help? My parents live nearby and I was nervous about asking my dad if he would look after my dc once a week (he and my mum aren’t retired yet so 1 day a week is all he could do) when I go back to work because I thought it was really cheeky but he practically fell off his chair in delight when I put the feelers out there. He’s got the most exciting days planned; I’m jealous I’m not still a kid 😂. And they babysit as much as they can when we need them to, we just have to ask.

FaFoutis Fri 08-Nov-19 13:57:13

Is that because they are close to their children, love their grandkids more or something else?

I wish I knew. It would be good to have an explanation for the lack of support or interest in my children from 'grandparents'.

Winterdaysarehere Fri 08-Nov-19 13:59:05

My dm never helped me - I never asked as never needed any.
My dgc was unplanned and dil and ds struggled. Dil requested I have dgc from 5 months old overnight 2 nights a week. Which I did for 18 months. She returned to work and other family members helped out then and I was happily reduced to week end visits only.
I wouldn't have asked for as much time but she needed the help so I gave it.

PrincessHoneysuckle Fri 08-Nov-19 13:59:24

My parents have ds 5 overnight every month to 6 weeks so we can have a child free night out.They had ds weekly from when he was a baby up until around 18 months as I had pnd.

usersouthcoast Fri 08-Nov-19 14:00:21

I think it depends on your family dynamic... my side of the family (dad and sister) will specifically offer and give a day and/or night they'd like to have him, whereas my in-laws wait to be asked, but have never said no.
We wouldn't ask or accept childcare for me to return to work though, would prefer to pay childcare provider for regular childcare.

peachgreen Fri 08-Nov-19 14:04:02

My parents are very generous financially and love DD to bits but have only looked after her for an hour or so on a handful of occasions. DH's dad will babysit of an evening but only after she's gone to bed and on the understanding that we come home immediately if she wakes up (to be fair, she never has!). SIL has taken her overnight a couple of times which is great, but doesn't do anything regularly.

They all have their own lives so I wouldn't really expect anything else, to be honest. I know they'd be there in an emergency. And I would probably prefer to pay for childcare anyway as it's simpler all round.

Honeybee85 Fri 08-Nov-19 14:04:21

I feel you OP.

My parents live 12 hours away by plane from us but PIL live 20 minutes away by car and they have never helped us once with DS. MIL refuses to babysit because we and FIL asked her (kindly) to support our DS’s head more when he was a very small baby and this made her angry.

I am a SAHM but I go to a language class every monday morning and every week we have to fork out £50 for a professional babysitter. MIL minding DS just once or twice a month would already be great for us to save some money but unfortunately we can’t count on that. Honestly I don’t care a lot about my MIL as she has never showed me much me much interest or care but I do know it hurts DH and I feel sad on his behalf.

Jadefeather7 Fri 08-Nov-19 14:04:57

So I feel that they’re really good at talking about how much they will help but when it comes down to it they won’t do anything.

When I was really struggling I had a bit of breakdown and told my mum that I felt really hurt that she had kept saying to family and friends that she would be so busy helping me out to but hadn’t done so, especially when she saw how difficult my baby was. She said she would try to help more but pretty much straight after we had a sleep consultant in who totally transformed my son. After that I didn’t really need any help so I managed myself. I think that experience just makes me feel apprehensive that she won’t help again. I also feel like it was really obvious that I needed help (my son pretty much screamed all the time) but because she didn’t offer she didn’t really want to help me? I don’t know maybe that’s not reasonable?

When my husband asked my mother in law to help (at my lowest point) she said if we had lived close to her (we moved mid way between our parents and are about 20 mins away from each) she would have helped more. Again pretty much straight after my son got better so I didn’t see if she would have actually helped. Recently my husband’s brother was complaining to him about the lack of support they’ve received compared to their sister. My husband agreed and said he will raise that with his parents.

Ohyesiam Fri 08-Nov-19 14:06:12

What do they say even you ask?

CaptainMyCaptain Fri 08-Nov-19 14:06:18

I help out when needed because I like being involved with my grandchildren. I don't offer randomly, I wait to be asked.

Straycatstrut Fri 08-Nov-19 14:07:37

I'm a single parent and mine help in the sense that they pay for extra nursery hours (extra half day a week), clubs & activities so I can work and have a break! They can easily afford it and I am incredibly grateful. They will take my young hyperactive boys for an hour or so around the park etc, but after that they're done in grin there's no way I'd expect more, and I'm very grateful for what I get!

I see a woman every day doing the same twice-daily long school run I do, she must be in her mid 60's at least and she has twin babies, a toddler, and is picking up an older primary aged child. She looks absolutely exhausted and on the verge of tears sometimes and I wonder if she actually wants to be doing it. I do think people take the absolute pee with it and they may offer and then think they can't say if they find it too much of a struggle.

Jollitwiglet Fri 08-Nov-19 14:08:52

So when you needed help you didn't ask, and you only mentioned it after you felt you no longer needed the help and just made assumptions?

Dontforgetyourbrolly Fri 08-Nov-19 14:09:11

My mum helps me so much. Mostly because she loves having children in the house- she would have all 3 grandchildren ( i have 1 child , my brother has 2 )every weekend if she could!
Since I became a single parent I cannot put a price on the support with school runs and school holidays she has given me. Without her I would be unable to work full time in my chosen career.
I do appreciate this massively and she knows this . Its lovely to see how much ds loves being with his Nanny too.

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